5 Ways You’re Killing Your Repeat Business


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The cost to gain a new customer is as much as 8 times what it costs to retain a customer you already have. The costs to seek new customers adds up. You often have to pay sales people, pay for advertising, have an online presence, and a myriad of other things.

In addition, A mere 5% increase in customer retention can improve your profitability as much as 75%. Forbes reports that it is about 50% easier to sell to customers you already have. If you aren’t retaining your customers, it is definitely time to stop and look at the ways you might be killing your repeat business.

Customer Service Issues
82% of customers point to poor service as the reason they stopped using a company. Reasions included issues such as rude staff, slow service, and staff that didn’t know the product or service. One of the fastest ways to kill repeat business is with poor customer service. This can include anything that makes the experience seem negative to the customer, such as:

  • Technicians late to appointment
  • Repair not completed satisfactorily
  • Costs of repair or replacement not fully explained
  • Are not cleaned up after work is completed
  • Concerns not being addressed

Terry Callihan, General Manager of Air Extreme Heating and Cooling based in Ashland, Kentucky, shared their secret to keeping customers happy. “We do surveys with all customers and address any complaint with each customer.”

This is smart because any issues can be resolved not only for that customer, but if problem patterns are seen, policies can be changed or implemented.

Not Training Employees
When business is good, every employee is likely busy. The technicians are going on service calls, sales people are making appointments, and even the administrative assistant is constantly answering the phone and making appointments.

However, taking the time to train employees is vital to an ongoing successful business. Every employee in your company should understand your customer service philosophy. Take the time to:

Train employees how to interact with customers
• Give them the power to make things right for a customer who is unhappy
• Show employees how to monitor tone, expression, and verbal cues

From time to time, you’ll even want to call in an expert to train employees in customer relations.

Forgetting the Follow-Up
In a 2015 Bank of America survey of small business owners, six in 10 business owners reported that developing strong customer relationships was the determining factor in repeat business. The after-service follow-up is the perfect opportunity to communicate with customers and develop a stronger relationship.

“We sell a lot of maintenance memberships, it’s important to [do] this because you’re always in front of the customer. Staying in front of your existing customers is important to keep the relationship strong. We give 5 year labor warranties with all installs as long as they maintain the maintenance agreement… Always being on the top of our clients’ minds is the priority in the referral game,” Callihan added.

Here are a few things you can do to follow-up:

  • Offer maintenance plans
  • Send thank you cards
  • Phone and survey customers about their service experiences

Communicating Sporadically
As Terry Callihan of Air Extreme mentioned above, you want to stay in the forefront of the mind of clients to gain referrals. If you only communicate to your customers once a year, then you’re missing a lot of opportunities to gain their attention.

It is vital to communicate on multiple levels, including;

  • Customer satisfaction telephone surveys
  • Newsletters and direct mail campaigns
  • Social media presence. Callihan shared, “Social media is a very powerful marketing tool. The key is to engage the consumer, create a relationship and gain the trust of clients.”

Your customer should hear from you at least once a quarter, if you want your business name to be the one that pops up when he or she is thinking about which HVAC company to phone.

Not Understanding the Needs of Your Customers
The needs of service industry customers are pretty basic. The customer has a problem that needs to be fixed. In that process, she wants to be treated with respect, given a fair price, and informed about the best choices for her home.

If you excel at providing this service to the customer, the likelihood that she will use your company the next time she needs an HVAC service are high. With just a little effort, you can turn new customers into loyal customers. From there, word-of-mouth will continue to grow your business.

Lori Soard

Posted In: Management, Sales & Marketing

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